St Andrews in the News

May 2013


Welcome to the May issue of St Andrews in the News, our regular e-newsletter for alumni, friends and supporters around the world.


Principal Emeritus Professor Struther Arnott CBE FRS

Prof StrutherPrincipal Emeritus Professor Struther Arnott CBE FRS, Hon LLD 1999, died at his home in Doncaster at the age of 78 on 20 April 2013.

Born in Larkhall, Lanarkshire, and educated at Hamilton Academy and the University of Glasgow, Struther Arnott was an accomplished biophysicist whose expertise lay in the structure of DNA determined by fibre diffraction, for which he was elected to the Royal Society in 1985. The parameters he derived on the structure of DNA are still used today.

Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1986 - 1999, his strategy, which continues to shape what we do today, was to invest in excellence. His vision, his eye for talent and his drive helped to lift St Andrews to prominence in the sciences to match its strengths in the arts.

The University recently recognised the tremendous contribution made by Struther Arnott to the University by naming a seminar room in the Biomedical Research Sciences Complex in his honour.

Academic acclaim

uni guideSt Andrews University has been named best in Scotland and sixth in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2014. The guide measures student satisfaction, research assessment, entry standards, student/staff ratio, spending on academic services, spending on student facilities, good honours degrees achieved, and graduate prospects and completion. St Andrews has also been ranked top in Scotland and 47th in the world in the Leiden Ranking 2013, a prestigious scientific performance ranking.

Environmental excellence

environment prizeAn innovative project developed from the behavioural discovery that honey bees can be used as a natural deterrent to crop-raiding elephants, has won this year's prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment.

The Prize is a joint initiative presented by the University and international exploration and production company ConocoPhillips that supports creative thinkers with original and practical solutions to environmental challenges around the globe.

Thumbs up

kalqComputer scientists at St Andrews, working with international colleagues, have created a new keyboard that enables faster thumb-typing on touchscreen devices. The new system, dubbed KALQ, after the order the keys appear in the keyboard (in the tradition of QWERTY), allows people to thumb-type 34 per cent faster on tablets.

In other research, our computer scientists have been exploring the potential of personalised, gesture-based Natural User Interfaces to deliver more effective control of televisions, computers and games consoles.

R&A Scholarship

R&AThird-year Philosophy and International Relations student Shelley Talbot has been selected as the first St Andrews student to benefit from a new, international scholarship fund generously gifted by The R&A, the body responsible for administering the Rules of Golf. Shelley plans to use her £12,000 award to travel to the Far East, America and Europe for a year, volunteering at various local community projects, helping physically and mentally disabled people.

Seeing stars

StarsUniversity astronomers using the NASA/ ESA Hubble Space Telescope have helped show - for the first time - that bursts of star formation have a major impact far beyond the boundaries of their host galaxy. These energetic events can affect galactic gas at distances of up to twenty times greater than the visible size of the galaxy — altering how the galaxy evolves, and how matter and energy is spread throughout the Universe.

Helping hands

FrotscherThis year's Frotscher Medal for Helping Hands has been presented by the Proctor, Professor Lorna Milne, to final-year Psychology student Fiona Burslem at a ceremony in the University of St Andrews Museum (MUSA). The medal and a cheque for £250 were awarded in recognition of the support Fiona provided to her fellow St Andrews students over the past year. Fiona has helped with Nightline and SupNet and with the coordination of the student-led Mental Wealth campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Knowledge transfer

whalesA team of researchers, led by the University of St Andrews, has discovered that humpback whales are able to pass on hunting techniques to one another. The technique, which entails hitting the water with their tails while hunting prey, has now spread to nearly 40% of the population by cultural transmission.

Cultural transmission among primates has also been observed in other research being undertaken by University scientists.

Sporting success

sportsThe Saints Sport Hall of Fame and Awards Evening recently took place in Lower College Hall. Students, staff and distinguished guests gathered to celebrate the fantastic achievements of many of the University's sports clubs and individuals within them.

You can read more about this year's sporting successes in the latest issue of the Saints Sports newsletter.

Social Media Survey

We know that thousands of our alumni and friends are engaging with us on Facebook and Twitter.

However, we also know that the digital landscape is fast-changing and want to make sure that we are providing content and conversations in the most convenient and effective way.

Please take a couple of minutes to answer this very brief survey, and let us know your social media preferences.

Alumni News, Clubs and Services

600th Anniversary Dinner and Reception in Toronto – Tuesday 4 June 2013, 5.00pm – 9.30pm

Alumni and friends of the University of St Andrews are invited to a reception and dinner to celebrate the 600th Anniversary of the University in the company of Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson. This event will be held in the historic setting of the Toronto Golf Club which was established in 1876 and is the third oldest golf course in North America. The drinks reception will be held in the beautiful grounds with the dinner to follow in the Clubhouse. This is the last week to secure a ticket to attend this celebratory event, you may purchase tickets here.

Reunions 2013

Join us in St Andrews this year for one of our special reunion events.

Alumni Reunion Weekend 2013: Friday 28 – Sunday 30 June

quadWhy not join us for this year's Reunion Weekend in this special year in the University's history? The highlight of the weekend is the Reunion Ball in Younger Hall with live music from Alasdair MacCuish and the Black Rose Ceilidh Band and The Stingrays. With a Reunion Dinner, Wine Tasting, Buffet lunches, a Tour of the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), opportunities to see the 600th Anniversary film, Ever to Excel and a special 600th Anniversary Chapel Service on Sunday, this is an ideal time to meet up with fellow alumni in St Andrews. With accommodation reserved for Reunion guests at Agnes Blackadder Hall (formerly New Hall), bookable online together with your tickets for events, it could not be easier. We can help you to make contact with 'lost' friends or with your arrangements to attend as a group.

Please book now to help us with our planning or contact the Alumni Relations Office E: T: +44 (0)1334 461913 / 467194 for assistance.

University Hall and University Hall St Andrews Graduates Association (UHStAGA) members Reunion: 7 - 9 June 2013

It is not too late to book your place at the UHStAGA Reunion - a special residential weekend celebrating not only the 600th Anniversary of the University but also the 100th Anniversary of the extensions to Hall Old Wing and the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Lumsden Wing. Full details, including a booking form, can be found here.

Geology Reunion: 16 – 18 August 2013, St Andrews

There are still a few places available for the Geology Reunion. The weekend begins with a Reception in the Gateway Building, with a buffet supper, sparkling wine and a formal welcome from our Deputy Principal, Professor Chris Hawkesworth. The next day there will be an optional field trip to the iconic Rock and Spindle volcano, a display of current and future research activities, and we end the day with a Reunion Dinner and ceilidh in the splendid surroundings of Lower and Upper College Hall. To book, please download the form.

Worldwide Alumni Film Weekend

Ever To ExcelJoin fellow alumni around the world this October for a truly unique event: a 48-hour simultaneous inter-continental viewing of the 600th Anniversary film Ever to Excel. On Saturday 19 October and Sunday 20 October 2013, we are offering you the chance to show Ever to Excel in your part of the world. Your showing can take place in a cinema, in a club, in your own home or even in the open air and can be to a group of alumni, friends, work associates or close family members.

All you need to do is register your event here and we will send you your copy of the film along with an event organiser's pack nearer the time.

Shadow-For-A-Day 2013

Can you host a student for a day at your place of work? At the end of the summer, during the week of September 2, 2013, the Careers Centre is organising the first annual Shadow-Day - an opportunity for alumni and parents to provide exceptional access for students interested in their career area. For busy professionals that might not have the time for formalised mentorship, or for those looking for an easy way to provide an invaluable experience for students, click here for more information.

St Andrews CV/Resumé Bank

The Career Centre is asking alumni and parents to help contribute CVs to their CV/Resumé bank. So often the act of writing CVs and Cover Letters is much more art than science. Drawing on the wealth of experience of employed alumni and parents, students will be able to see real-world examples of excellent CVs for the industry of their interest. For more information, click here.

New University web store – discount available

storeA 10% discount is available to readers of St Andrews in the News at our new Online Payment Services, which sells high-quality official University branded merchandise. The discount is only available online and is valid across the entire shop, excluding shipping charges. All purchases made on our online store help to directly support teaching and research at the University of St Andrews.

To get your 10% discount add the discount voucher code – SPARC600 – when prompted to do so.

The address for the retail store is


The St Andrews English Colloquium: Opera and Fiction

The School of English is delighted to announce the launch of The St Andrews English Colloquium, which aims to bring distinguished international scholars to the School for public lectures and debate.

Speakers at this first event include the composer Thea Musgrave and literary critics and musicologists Brad Bucknell, Philip Ross Bullock, Delia da Sousa Correa, Kate Kennedy, Cormac Newark, Jeremy Tambling and Phyllis Weliver. There will be a concert on the Saturday evening.

All events are free and open to the public.

School III, St Salvator's Quadrangle, St Andrews
Saturday 11 – Sunday 12 May, from 9.30am

Ask a Botanist: Q&A Session with Bob Mitchell

Come hear Bob Mitchell, one of St Andrews' finest botanists, discuss his background in botany and the history of St Andrews Botanic Gardens. Come with questions as Bob is prepared to answer any thrown his way! Informal atmosphere. Refreshments will be provided.

St Andrews Museum, Kinburn Park,
Doubledykes Road, St Andrews
Saturday 11 May, 1.00pm – 2.00pm

OE Saunders Memorial Lecture 2013: Germaine Greer

greer'The Illusion of Authenticity: Aboriginal Art and the Crisis of the Market'
Germaine Greer, Professor Emerita, University of Warwick

At the time of contact Australian Aboriginal peoples had a rich repertoire of signs and gestures that was largely invisible to the European settlers. Their pictorial language was expressed in body painting and ceremonial objects that were unseen by strangers and often kept secret from all but the initiated within Aboriginal communities. The story of Aboriginal art is the story of trade objects, developed in response to exogenous commercial pressure. The once-burgeoning market for Aboriginal artefacts is now in crisis.

The lecture is followed by a drinks reception at MUSA, 7a The Scores.

Buchanan Lecture Theatre, St Andrews
Tuesday 14 May, 5.15pm – 8.00pm

Commies and Indians: a one-day symposium on the Eastern European Western

The symposium studies a fascinating episode in European popular cinema and addresses such questions as where these films stand in the history of the Western: how might they connect to post-classical, revisionist, demystifying modes of the genre as embodied by Peckinpah or Leone? This topic also enables us to explore broader, marginalised realities of Eastern Bloc film. With their Hollywood borrowings and frequent dependence on co-production, these films reveal the centrality of the transnational to this region's cinema.

The Guild Room, Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ
Friday 17 May, 9.00am – 9.00pm

Tibetan Medicine's Outlook on Cancer Documentary: Film Trailer Preview and Fundraising Event

The filmmakers of The Legacy of Menla: Tibetan Medicine's Outlook on Cancer invite you to take part in their journey as they explore Tibetan Medicine and its perspectives on cancer through film.

Buchanan Lecture Theatre, Union Street, St Andrews
Monday 27 May, 7.30pm – 8.30pm

Songs of These Isles

SongsA concert showcasing the British folk song from all four corners of these isles. Music from James MacMillan, Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry and friends, performed by the St Andrews University Madrigal Group.

You can listen to and purchase the Madrigal Group's brand new recording here.

St Salvator's Chapel, North Street, St Andrews
Friday 31 May, 7.30pm – 8.30pm

Movies at MUSA

Watch the classic animation of Robin Hood, held in the MUSA Learning Loft. Screening is free but booking is essential.

MUSA, 7A the Scores St Andrews
Sunday 2 June, 2.00pm – 3.25pm

For full details of MUSA's events programme this season, please visit our website.

General Council of the University of St Andrews

The next meeting of the General Council will take place in St Andrews at 10.30am, Saturday 29 June 2013 in Parliament Hall.

Online voting for the Business Committee vacancies will open on 14 May 2013. To find out more please visit the elections webpage.

For further General Council news, please visit our website.


Out of the Flames: Martyrs' Church from Reformation to Renovation

flamesYour last chance to see this exhibition about the history of Martyrs' Church in North Street, organised by postgraduate students on the MLitt Museum and Gallery Studies course.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Continues to Sunday 12 May

Botany: Cultivating Collections

botanyClosing this weekend, 'Botany: Cultivating Collections' focuses on the impact the field of botany has had on science, education, art and the community.

St Andrews Museum, Kinburn Park, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews
Continues to Sunday 12 May

X Marks the Spot: The MUSA Young Artist Award 2013

Treasures are usually objects of great beauty that inspire the imagination and give fascinating insights into individuals and societies. Is this always the case? What are those insights? And what messages can we give through the treasures we create? Pupils from across Fife responded to these questions and the stunning treasures on display at MUSA for this year's Young Artist Award. See the winning entries here and discover that Fife really does have talent.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Friday 24 May – Saturday 24 August


Alumni Authors

The King's Jews
Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England

blondeDr Robin Mundill MA 1980, PhD 1988

Price £23.99 from Bloomsbury

Crash Course Anatomy

reality gpDr Louise Stenhouse BSc 1997

Price £24.99 from Elsevier

Making a Gift

Social Networking

Our 600th Anniversary campaign was launched in 2011 by our campaign Patron and graduate, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. We aim to secure £100 million to support a range of projects and aspirational new developments integral to the University’s ambition to consolidate its status as a world-class centre for teaching and research. To view the exciting and varied projects that make up the campaign, please visit our 600th website. You can make a gift to the campaign in a variety of ways.

You can also make a legacy gift to the University to safeguard its future.

We look forward to welcoming you to our community of donors, committed to securing a seventh century of excellence for this great University.

Alumni and friends can keep up to date with the University activities and events online via Facebook, Twitter and our blog IncomparaBubble.


Follow our 600th Anniversary celebrations on Facebook.

US parents Facebook group is looking forward to hearing from you!

Network professionally through the alumni-run University of St Andrews Alumni LinkedIn group.

Questions: Please email

Development, University of St Andrews, Crawford Building, 91 North Street, St Andrews KY16 9AJ, Scotland
Tel: +44 (0)1334 462113

The University of St Andrews is not responsible for the content of external websites accessed via links in this e-newsletter.

The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013532.

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